CBP Modifies Tariff Shift Rules to Reflect 2007 HTSUS Changes and Reopens Comment Period on Country of Origin Proposal
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) published a long awaited final rule in the Federal Register last week updating the tariff shift rules of origin for goods imported under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) (19 CFR Section 102.20) and for the country of origin of textile and apparel products under(except for purposes of determining whether goods originate in Israel) (19 CFR Section 102.21) to reflect the 2007 changes in the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS). The changes were necessary because the 2007 modifications to the HTSUS added or removed certain tariff provisions and transferred certain goods to different or newly-created tariff provisions.
As a result of these changes, CBP announced that it has re-opened the comment period for parties to submit comments on CBP's July 25, 2008 notice of proposed rulemaking that would amend CBP's regulations to replace the "substantial transformation" test for determining the country of origin of imported merchandise with the tariff shift rules of origin set forth in 19 CFR 102. CBP is proposing this change since it claims that the tariff shift rules are more objective and transparent than the current case-by-case process. The new deadline is December 1, 2008.